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Page last updated at 07:37 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Dave Jones hails 'Premier' quality Whittingham

Peter Whittingham
Peter Whittingham had only scored 19 career goals before this season

Dave Jones insists Championship top-scorer Peter Whittingham should be playing in the Premier League.

The Cardiff City midfielder scored his 21st goal of the season as the play-off hopefuls beat Watford 3-1 on Sunday.

The former England under-21 winger has scored more this season than in his previous six seasons as a professional.

Whittingham has set-up 10 Cardiff goals and hit the woodwork 8 times as Jones admits: "He has a lot of quality that should be applied at a higher level."

The 25-year-old has often suffered accusations of laziness playing for Cardiff due to his lethargic playing style since his £350,000 move from Premier League side Aston Villa in January 2007.

Whittingham has scored seven penalties in his 21 goals this season and has scored with almost half of his 49 shots on goal.

The left-winger and targetman Jay Bothroyd are the heartbeat of Cardiff's attacking force.

All we've done is ask Whitts to get into a certain areas of the park where he will get his opportunity to score goals

Cardiff City manager Dave Jones

The mercurial pair have played a major part in ensuring Jones' men are the third highest-scorers in the Championship and still pushing for Premier League promotion.

"A lot of players in this division are capable of playing higher," said Jones.

"But they have to work hard at it and sometimes he lets himself down in that department.

"This season, however, he has been absolutely superb and the goal tally is phenomenal from the position that he is in.

"The boy has a lot of qualities. All we've done is ask Whitts to get into a certain areas of the park where he will get his opportunity to score goals."

Whittingham - who scored just four goals last term - will hope to score in his third successive game when play-off rivals Sheffield United visit the Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday.

The Bluebirds also hope to win their third consecutive game - and equal their best run in the league this season - against a side one place and five points below them in the Championship table.

Cardiff have been ever-present in the play-off zone since November but the sixth-placed Welsh club currently occupy the final play-off place.

But Jones points out: "We have a game in hand over Sheffield United and if we win that game in hand, we draw level on points with Swansea."

Fourth-placed Leicester have the same amount of points as Swansea but have played the same amount of games as Cardiff.

Jones' team are entering a crucial period as Cardiff play four of the Championship's top seven in their next five games - all inside 12 days.

"We have to keep our run going," said Jones.

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see also
Ledley given training all-clear
22 Mar 10 |  Cardiff
McCormack eyes key Blades clash
22 Mar 10 |  Cardiff
Cardiff 3-1 Watford
21 Mar 10 |  Championship
Modest Whittingham enjoys treble
25 Oct 09 |  Cardiff
Whittingham secures Cardiff move
11 Jan 07 |  Cardiff
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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